World failed to stop Hitler while it was still possible; will it repeat the mistake with Ahmadinejad?
by Yigal Walt
The 20th Century’s worst mass murderers, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, were deranged lunatics. Both also cultivated a disturbing cult of personality to promote their own “greatness.”
Hitler’s megalomaniac tendencies were patently obvious long before the outbreak of World War II. Yet anxious world powers refrained from countering Nazi Germany while it was still building up its military force, thereby allowing its army to swell and develop new weapons. When war finally did break out, Germany’s massive military machine dragged the world into unimaginable carnage and bloodshed.
The lessons of World War II were etched into the minds and hearts of those who lived through the horror, yet 66 years later it seems the West is adopting similar complacency vis-à-vis a Hitler-like madman: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Will the world wake up before it’s too late?
The realization that Iran’s leader is a deranged, reckless man was further reinforced this week. In an interview with the Washington Post, Ahmadinejad shared his frighteningly twisted worldview, claiming among other things that Zionism was behind both world wars and that America was sacrificing its “whole population” for "the interests of a few hundred Zionists."
The fact that the leader of one of the world’s largest nations subscribes to such foolish, mind-boggling views attests to a deeply distorted way of thinking. No less worrying, the fact that he has no qualms about openly expressing these views highlights his own confidence and the little regard he holds for world leaders, realizing they will be doing nothing to counter him.
Meanwhile, an NBC journalist was permitted to accompany Iran’s president for a day, resulting in what can only be termed a propaganda film glorifying Ahmadinejad while resorting to all the familiar hallmarks of madman exaltation: Physical fitness, concern for the “little man of the street,” firmness combined with sensitivity for fellow countrymen and tireless efforts to advance the “mother land.”
The Obama factor
Following Hitler’s rise to power, Germany’s army was still greatly curbed by the Treaty of Versailles, limited to only 100,000 troops and lacking any real power. Yet the German dictator openly defied his foes, boosting his country’s military capabilities and creating powerful armored corps and an intimidating, advanced Air Force, the Luftwaffe.
Germany’s archenemies, France and Britain, could have easily defeated the Nazi army in the first years of Hitler’s rule, but their cowardice and desire to avoid war at any cost prompted them to resort to an endless string of excuses, denials, and appeasement efforts. We are seeing a similar scenario materializing before our eyes in this day and age, as the West fails to stand up to Ahmadinejad.
And so, Iran has been boosting its military capabilities by building new missiles and smart bombs, while tirelessly pursuing its nuclear program. The Ayatollahs’ army is still far weaker than the West’s military might, but with every passing day, month and year Tehran’s ability to inflict damage on its rivals grows. Acquiring nuclear arms would change the equation altogether, creating a balance of terror that would greatly limit the world’s ability to respond.
Yet despite Iran’s relative military weakness at this time and despite Ahmadinejad’s genocidal threats and vision of grandeur, the world chooses to adopt weak sanctions while constantly seeking to engage in “dialogue” and secure “understandings” with Tehran.
Just like Nazi Germany, current-day Iran has destructive potential should it adopt the path of aggression and belligerence. Tehran can greatly complicate matters in Iraq upon America’s withdrawal, threaten the world’s major oil supplier, Saudi Arabia, and mount a devastating attack on Israel, the West’s only reliable Mideastern ally and its frontal outpost in the face of Islamic radicalism.
Yet unlike the Germans, Iran is far weaker at this time and therefore more vulnerable to a decisive military campaign. Moreover, unlike the Nazis’ one-man show, Ahmadinejad is complemented by country’s ayatollahs, who are also susceptible to pressure and may very well decide to replace the mad ruler on their own should they pay a heavy price for his continued presence.
Unfortunately for the world, the US president at this tumultuous time is Barack Obama, a man who has made a career of empty rhetoric devoid of any substance or influence. Will history remember him as a modern-day Churchill, or rather, as a defeated Chamberlain? The probable answer should alarm all citizens of the Free World.